Drinking, smoking increase heart risk in women

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London, May 1 (UNI) Young girls and women are at higher risk of developing heart disease due to their unhealthy habbits like drinking, smoking and overeating, research say.

Deaths from coronary heart disease are dropping in all groups except in women aged under 50, according to researchers at Oxford and Liverpool universities.

They found that mortality rates from heart disease rose steadily in all groups throughout the 20th century and peaked in the 1970s.

Since then there had been a steady fall as the dangers of smoking became apparent and people quit, while diagnosis of heart disease became faster and access to effective treatments improved.

But mortality rates in women aged under 50 had levelled off and even risen.

This was because of increasing levels of obesity and lack of exercise, but particularly because the number of women smoking and drinking heavily was increasing, experts said.

It is also known that women often do not consider themselves to be at risk of heart disease and so go to their doctor with symptoms much later and are diagnosed at a later stage in the condition, when it is more difficult to control.

Dr Ian Campbell, a GP and the medical director of the charity Weight Concern, said one fifth of cases of heart disease could be prevented if people maintained a healthy weight.

''These findings are disturbing but not surprising,'' he added.

''Middle-aged women have multiple risk factors for heart disease- they are likely to have been inactive for 20 years or more, obesity has trebled in this age group in the last 25 years and they are continuing to smoke,'' the Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying.

''Fundamentally, this is about an unhealthy lifestyle,'' Dr Campbell said.

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